THE LAW OFFICES OF IMAN I. ABOUELAZM.
SERVING South Florida and North Florida
Bankruptcy is a legal process governed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code which allows consumers and
businesses to eliminate their debt. The person or company filing for Bankruptcy is called the Debtor.
The person, company or bank to whom a debt is owed is called the Creditor. Personal bankruptcy is
filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually the
preferred type of bankruptcy for most people who do not have much income or assets. Chapter 13 is
more suitable for those who have income higher than the median income as set by the IRS guidelines,
who have equity in assets worth more than the allowed exemptions or those who are behind on secured
debts, such as their mortgage, and want to save their property from foreclosure or repossession. Both
types of bankruptcy have restrictions and eligibility requirements. Your attorney should be able to
determine which type of Bankruptcy you qualify for and offers you the most protection and the best
relief. Bankruptcy is administered by a Trustee. The Trustee’s job is to make sure there are no fraud
issues, to ascertain if there are assets that may be taken from the Debtor to sell (or liquidate) to pay off
some of the debt the Debtor owes, to administer the bankruptcy case and make sure all schedules are filed
Types of Debts
In Bankruptcy, there three (3) different types of debt: Priority debt, Secured debt and Unsecured debt.
Priority includes recent IRS debt, child support and alimony. Secured debt includes a mortgage or car
payment. Unsecured debt is any debt that is not secured by any property such as most credit cards,
medical bills or personal loans. Priority debt is not dischargeable. Secured debt may be discharged if the
Debtor chooses to surrender the property tied to the debt. Unsecured debt may be discharged
notwithstanding any issues in the Bankruptcy process.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often called "liquidation" bankruptcy as the Trustee may take from the Debtor
any property that is not exempt to try to pay off some of the debt sought to be discharged. Certain
property may not be taken from the Debtor as this property is protected by statutory exemption rules.
Exemptions vary from state to state and sometimes, federal exemption rules may apply. You attorney
would be able to determine which exemption rules apply in your particular case because there are
jurisdictional issues that determine exemptions.
Chapter 7 is widely known to be generally quick and more attractive because it wipes away all unsecured
debt right away. Usually, in the Southern District as of the date of this writing, a Debtor who files
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and faces no objection or issues from the Trustee can expect to receive their
discharge within about 3 – 4 months. Once the Debtor receives the discharge, the Debtor can be assured
that he / she is no longer responsible for those debts listed in the petition , and the Debtor gets his/her
fresh start at building a new financial future.
Generally, to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your household income should be under the median
income for your household size, your expenses should be more than your income and you must not have
filed and received a prior Chapter 7 discharge in the previous eight (8) years. If your income is higher
than the median income, you may still qualify for Chapter 7 by passing the Means Test. Your attorney
will be able to account for all possible allowed expenses and deductions to help you pass the means test .
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often referred to as “Reorganization” bankruptcy. Chapter 13 allows debtor to
repay some or all of their debt over a period of 3 – 5 years, called the Chapter 13 Payment Plan.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a good option for several types of debtors:
Save-A-Home: Some debtors need to file Bankruptcy as a last resort to save their home. For Debtors
who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, Chapter 13 allows a Debtor to split their arrearage
amount over the 3 - 5 year payment plan period. As of June 2010, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may also help
Debtors apply for and receive a mortgage modification.
Lien Stripping: Chapter 13 is an attractive option for most homeowners these days who have more than
one mortgage. If your home is worth less than the total amount of your first mortgage, you may be able
to strip the second or third lien. Certain restrictions apply and your attorney can analyze your case for
eligibility for stripping your second or third lien through bankruptcy.
High Income: Some debtors file Chapter 13 bankruptcy because their income is too high to qualify for
Other reasons: There are other reasons that a debtor may choose Chapter 13 over Chapter 7. Your
attorney can discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of each type of bankruptcy in your
particular case so that you make the best choice.
Bankruptcy is a complex area of law, with many federal rules, local rules, exceptions and procedural
requirements. An experienced attorney will be able to offer you the protection and relief afforded
through the Bankruptcy process with minimal complications and mistakes. Do not be swayed by
paralegals or notary publics who claim they have experience and knowledge to prepare your petitions.
These agencies are not attorneys and are not authorized to practice law, which is why they do not sign
your petitions or go to court with you.
Speak to an attorney to discuss your case and ask your questions. We offer a Free initial consultation.
The hiring of an attorney is an important decision. Contact our office for free written material on our
firm, attorney and services. We are a debt relief law firm. We provide relief under the Bankruptcy Code
and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
110 E. Broward Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Offices located in:
Downtown Fort Lauderdale
We may help you PROTECT your assets
• Harrassing creditor CALLS!
• Lawsuits & Judgments!
• Foreclosure Debt!
• Repossession Debt!
• High Car Payments!
• Medical Bills!
• Personal Loan & Credit Card Debt!
• IRS Debt!
CHAPTER 13 MAY:
- Save your home from Foreclosure!
- Immediately stop a Foreclosure
- Allow you to catch up on mortgage
- Strip a second mortgage
- Modify the terms of your mortgage
- Save your car from repossession
- Reorganize your debt into an
affordable payment plan for a period
of 3 - 5 years.
Attorney Iman I. Abouelazm
"It is said that the world is in a state of bankruptcy --
that the world owes the world more than the world can pay." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson